DC-3 in a museum

DC-3 Ford Tri-motor
DC-3 and Ford Tri-Motor (in the foreground)  in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Shortly after the U.S. Forest Service retired their last DC-3 from smokejumping duties, I ran across another one in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

It was displayed next to a Ford Tri-Motor.

5 thoughts on “DC-3 in a museum”

  1. Real Beauty. Saw it on a CVD visit in 2006. First ride with cuz (USAF Capt.) in ’61 to Travis wk before Navy Preflight. Typical “Gooney-Bird” milk run (pics). This still shows the (reliable, ubiquitous) R-1820’s pre-turbo’s. Turbo apps remind me of Hot Rods–but then I like my originals. Flew navigator in two VR-s (C-54, C-118–R-1820’s) after carrier duty in ASW AD-5W Guppies (R-3350)–best duty. R-1820’s flew incredible no. of airframes (+ Sherman & M-6 tanks)–long time. Hope the turbo version keeps carrying.

  2. A Ford Tri Motor is worth about a million dollars. The former Missoula DC 3 N115Z will sell for about $250,000.00 at auction.

  3. Such a deal…!
    Unit cost US$79,500 ($1,372,147 in 2015)

    Ford’s also a beauty, and another indication of American Exceptionalism, Resourcefulness…and German engineering. Unit cost: about $42,000 in 1933 (about $736,000 in 2013)

    Not a bad deal even by today’s dollar value if it’s in “like-new” condition. Will they take a personal check?

    Interested in “The Rest of the Story”…?

    The Fokker F7A looks like a Ford Tri-Motor. More correctly, the Ford looks like the Fokker. The story goes that Richard Byrd et al flew a Fokker F7 to the north pole in 1926. After returning, he toured the world, and stopped at Dearborn Field in Detroit – owned of course by Henry Ford. Ford offered his own hangar to safeguard the Fokker. While Byrd and his party were being entertained, Ford engineers worked through the night to measure, copy, and reverse-engineer the entire plane. Ford had previously purchased the Stout airplane co. and modified one of its models with 3 engines, but it wasn’t until after the Fokker visit that the Tri-Motor took its final form.

    The Fokker F.VII Trimotor (Netherlands Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation)…cost of $40,000.
    Byrd’s plane on his Arctic flight, nicknamed the “Josephine Ford,” for sponsor Edsel’s
    daughter, bore the word “FOKKER” in huge letters on wings and fuselage, so that no one
    would confuse his aircraft for a FORD Trimotor.


    Maybe more than you wanted to know, but cain’t he’p it.

    1. $2.5M? Sounds more like it. Have to be a cashier’s check then, eh? Maybe a So. American troop carrier (Lounge Lizard Air)?

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